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Benelli SuperNova Tactical: Badass Bella Donna

Benelli SuperNova
December 22, 2022 309 view(s)

Benelli SuperNova Tactical: Badass Bella Donna

The Benelli SuperNova is a manual action, i.e., pump, 12-gauge shotgun. There are essentially two main versions: one is the "standard" SuperNova, the other is the Benelli SuperNova Tactical. The latter is what we'll focus on here in two forms: the pistol grip tactical SuperNova and the Benelli SuperNova ComforTech Stock model. Versions of all the SuperNovas see both recreational and defensive use. Despite a long Length of Pull (LOP), the OG "scattergat" is sometimes preferred over Benelli's semi-auto shotguns because of its less complicated action and magazine cutoff (learn more in the Benelli SuperNova Tactical Review section below).

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Benelli SuperNova Tactical with pistol grip

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The manufacturer, Benelli Armi SpA (Benelli), is an Italian company long known for making quality shotguns. One of the first of these was the venerable Super 90 semi-auto line, which made its debut the same year as Top Gun, Walk Like an Egyptian, and the Goldwater-Nichols Act. Others have included the Super Black Eagle Line and the M2/M3/M4 Super 90 evolutions. 

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Benelli SuperNova

There are a couple of combinations of the SuperNova Tactical model: one with a pistol grip, the other with Benelli's ComforTech stock. Each can be configured more specifically, but typical versions will look something like what we've laid out below. 

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Benelli SuperNova Tactical (Pistol Grip)

Benelli SuperNova Tactical ComforTech (Ghost Ring Sights)

Benelli SuperNova Tactical ComforTech / Rifle Sights

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Common SuperNova Features

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1. First and foremost, we have to list the magazine cut-off. This is hands-down the SuperNova's main feature. The magazine cutoff is a push-button mechanism that allows you to prevent the magazine from feeding a shell. Use of the mag cutoff enables a shooter to remove a shell that has already been chambered without pushing a new one in. More significantly, it makes select-loading shells much more straightforward. Switching from buckshot to slug or other specialty munition will be much quicker when using the cutoff. 

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2. Speaking of loading directly, the SuperNova is chambered for up to 3.5-inch shells and a gaping mouth of a loading port. Typical 2.75-inch shells present no issues. A halfway-experienced shotgunner should be able to reload the SuperNova very quickly. 

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3. On the subject of shells, most will ship with a 4+1 tubular magazine. This is "standard," but virtually anyone using it for defensive use will upgrade to the +3 extension seen in most military/LE models. Barring legal or administrative restraints, who would choose to be limited to a four-round capacity? 

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4. SuperNova sights are usually iron up front and have adjustable ghost rings to the rear. Open rifle sights are an option, as is a Tritium-treated front sight post. More recent models have a drilled-and-tapped receiver so you can mount an optic. You'll want to use an optic that can withstand the beating a 12-gauge will give it, of course. 

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Note: if your optic mount works with the Benelli M4, it will work with the SuperNova. 

 

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5. They all have a reversible push-button for lefties (a surprisingly simple process, though one that should be left to a pro if you're not 100% confident in your skill). 

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6. SuperNovas sport a big (very big) open trigger guard. This is nice whether you have Frankenstein-size oven mitt hands or more normal ones, especially if you have to wear gloves.

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7. An intuitive action release forward of the trigger. it's big enough that you don't have to fumble around and engage it as you do with some brands and models. 

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8. There is an optional shim kit with which you can adjust the height and cast of the stock (q.v.). Many shooters won't need to make any changes (or won't want to), but it's nice to have the option. 

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9. Stock options. Unlike its predecessor, with the SuperNova you can switch stocks.

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10. Variable barrel lengths. A tactical SuperNova will usually have an 18-inch barrel. 14-inch barrels are also available, though they are a National Firearms Act feature and must be acquired accordingly, and some of the military configurations are fitted with a 28.5-inch barrel. These are for drone defense (or birds, depending on what you're hunting). 

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SuperNova magazine cutoff

The mag cutoff is a very useful feature. You pull the action slightly back to use it, then hit the button and finish racking it. Shells won’t feed from the tube once the button is pressed so that you can switch to a different munition or specialty load. Photo courtesy of Travis Pike.

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Benelli SuperNova Tactical Review

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Most any Benelli SuperNova Tactical review will be verwhelmingly positive. It's a high-quality gun made by a reputable manufacturer with a proven record. Some issues have been noted, though, and all of them seem to be centered around the length of pull. 

Length of pull is a term used to describe the distance from a long gun's trigger to the part of the rifle or shotgun that butts up against the shooter's shoulder. This is almost always the back end of the stock. 

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Virginia State Police with Benelli SuperNova Tactical and SuperNova ComforTech stock.

The Virginia State Police issues the SuperNova Tactical as a duty shotgun. Here you can see the both the pistol-grip version as well as the one equipped with the SuperNova ComforTech stock. 

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The SuperNova's length of pull is unusually long. It will be noticed by anyone but the most mutant long-armed of people and might necessitate an adjusted stance. This could be problematic, particularly if layered clothing, equipment, or body armor are involved, but is hardly insurmountable. It is also mitigated somewhat by the longer ComforTech stock, which allows you to put your hand closer to the receiver. (It's comfier that way.)

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Benelli SuperNova Tactical Review: reviews and trials are almost always overwhelmingly positive.

Training with the Benelli SuperNova Tactical...this shotgun's magazine disconnect makes partial reloads and select-loading shells much easier than other shotgun styles. 

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SuperNova Tactical (Pistol Grip)

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There are reasons the pump-action Benelli SuperNova Tactical 12 gauge (say that three times fast) is so well regarded. 

Specifications:

  • Magazine Capacity: 4+1
  • Caliber: 12 gauge
  • Barrel Length: 18"
  • Chokes: Fixed Cyl.
  • Type of Sights: Ghost Ring
  • Length of Pull: 14-3/8″
  • Drop at Heel: 2-1/4″
  • Drop at Comb: 1-3/8″
  • Weight: 7.6 lbs
  • Receiver drilled and tapped for scope base.

 

Benelli SuperNova as depicted in Rainbow Six: Siege

Benelli SuperNova as depicted in Rainbow Six: Siege

 

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SuperNova ComforTech Stock

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The SuperNova ComforTech stock makes this version even more popular than its grip-equipped brother, and not just in defensive applications. Competitive shotgunners enjoy it too.

Specifications:

  • Stock Finish: Black Synthetic
  • Receiver Finish: Matte, Blued
  • Barrel Finish: Matte, Blued
  • Gauge: 12-Gauge
  • Barrel Length: 18"
  • Grip: Standard
  • Stock Configuration: Comfortech
  • Size: Standard
  • Hand-Dominance: Right Handed
  • Chokes: Fixed Cylinder
  • Chamber: 2-3/4", 3", 3-1/2"
  • Capacity: 4+1
  • Sight: Ghost-Ring
  • Action: Pump
  • Drilled & Tapped: Yes
  • Length of Pull: 14-3/8"
  • Drop at Heel: 2-1/4"
  • Drop at Comb: 1-3/8"
  • Overall Length: 40"
  • Weight: 7.6 lbs.

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Benelli SuperNova in the Wild

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Portuguese soldier training with Benelli SuperNova tactical shotgun

The Portuguese military acquired numerous SuperNovas as part of that country’s Soldier System Program, SICS (Sistemas de Combate do Soldado). 

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Portuguese SuperNova duty shotgun

In addition to the Benelli pump shotguns, the Exército Português contracted for more than 15,000 SCAR-L and SCAR-H rifles, nearly 1,500 MINIMI machine guns, approximately 4,000 Glocks, and a wide array of optics, accessories, and other “furniture.”

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Benelli SuperNova in service with the military of Portugal

The shotgun is available in a wide variety of colors and configurations; you can see one here in desert tan. 

 

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SuperNova used by Lt. Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) in Edge of Tomorrow

Lt. Col. Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) uses a Benelli SuperNova 12 gauge in the film Edge of Tomorrow.

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Member of Chilean security forces with SuperNova

A member of Chilean security forces using what appears to be a Benelli SuperNova.

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French military tactical training with tactical SuperNova 12-gauge

The French Army, which already used other Benelli models like the M3 and Nova, adopted the SuperNova as its standard-issue shotgun in mid-2022. 

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French soldiers examining 12-gauge targets during SuperNova training

L 'Armée de Terre and other French military units will reportedly use the SuperNova in both traditional roles (with a 14-inch or 18.5-inch barrel) and more recent tactical applications like drone defense (with a 28.5-inch barrel). 

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French soldiers training with SuperNova shotguns

Soldiers of the 2e régiment de hussards (2e RH) training with the Benelli SuperNova.

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You can find the SuperNova Tactical and other models at Rainier Rainier Arms in the Benelli shotgun lineup. 

 

 

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